Help! What Should I Do? I Think I'm Being Called!


#1

I think I may be called to the priesthood!

This is a problem. I am currently in the Merchant Navy and I cannot leave; I am obligated to remain in the Navy for three years; if I leave before then, I will be fined £3000. I enjoy my current job, but I feel such a strong pull towards the priesthood.

The only time I feel contentment is when I am in Church. When I visit Church, I feel such a calmness and peace that it is overwhelming; I feel engulfed in love and serenity. I feel the desire to attend Mass every day; and sometimes I wish I could live in the Church. The sense of peace I feel is so strong that I do not want to leave. I often wish that I could become a hermit and leave the cares of this world behind; I wish I could spend eternity contemplating the face of the Lord. I also feel such a strong desire to celebrate the Mass; I watch the priest at the Altar and my heart expands; I wish I could climb the mountain and converse with the Lord; I wish I could enter the Holy of Holies and be wrapped up in the love of the Blessed Trinity. I really admire priests and I often wish I could be counted among them.

However, I also want to have a wife and children. I love women and I do not know if I would be able to live a life of celibacy. I also think I would regret not having children because I am very paternal. I feel like I would be missing out on a lot if I did not have a family. I also imagine that the life of a priest would be very lonely at times. I may regret becoming a priest, but I would never regret having children. I really want a family but I also know that it is increasingly difficult to find a Catholic spouse these days.

I cannot leave the Merchant Navy to discern a vocation; I may leave the Navy and then discover that I am not called to the priesthood. I do not want to ruin my chances of having a good career to discern whether I may be called. I really don't know what to do. I have felt this call for years; I have deliberately pushed it away, but it remains as strong as ever.

What should I do?


#2

Take a deep breath. Slow it down a bit.

I went on a retreat with some university students and the and the best advice I got from a priest was to finish what you’re doing. If you’re currently studying for a degree, finish that first (that was along with “don’t start panicking that you need to add philosophy classes everywhere”).

Finish your 3 years in the merchant navy. Take the time to grow closer to God in prayer. Use it as a time to practice the virtue of patience. If you have time, see if you can talk to a priest or a spiritual director about this. The last thing you want is to feel that God’s trapped you or tricked you because that’s not how He works.

It also gives you time to discern. If in 3 years time you still feel this way then (I would say at least) that might be a sign that this is what God is calling you to.


#3

Thanks curlycool, I'll follow your advice.

It is very difficult for me because I feel such a strong desire for the priesthood; but at the same time, I don't want to be a priest. I feel very conflicted. I want a wife and a family, but I also feel that I will never feel contentment outside of the priesthood.


#4

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:3, topic:194323"]
Thanks curlycool, I'll follow your advice.

It is very difficult for me because I feel such a strong desire for the priesthood; but at the same time, I don't want to be a priest. I feel very conflicted. I want a wife and a family, but I also feel that I will never feel contentment outside of the priesthood.

[/quote]

Definitely take these three years to calmly and constantly pray that God shows you what to do. A bit ago I was convinced that God wanted me to be a nun, then He said, if you marry it doesn't mean you love me any less. That really did it for me :)


#5

Definitely take these three years to calmly and constantly pray that God shows you what to do.

You're right; I need to pray more and I need to deepen my spiritual life. I am a miserable sinner and I need to strive to live the virtues before I even consider taking steps towards the priesthood. I hear the faint voice of God calling me but I know I am unworthy of the dignity of the priesthood; if God wants me for the priesthood, I must prepare myself by a life of prayer and mortification.


#6

Domine, non sum dignis :slight_smile: You’re in my prayers!


#7

**God Bless you!

Be patient, 3 years is nothing! It is a grain of sand in the infinite desert of time.

Jesus Christ has Infinite Mercy & Patience, so use this time wisely.

There is nothing more honorable, more perfect than serving God as He calls you to serve.

You are in my prayers!**

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!

mark


#8

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:1, topic:194323"]
I think I may be called to the priesthood!

This is a problem. I am currently in the Merchant Navy and I cannot leave; I am obligated to remain in the Navy for three years; if I leave before then, I will be fined £3000. I enjoy my current job, but I feel such a strong pull towards the priesthood.

The only time I feel contentment is when I am in Church. When I visit Church, I feel such a calmness and peace that it is overwhelming; I feel engulfed in love and serenity. I feel the desire to attend Mass every day; and sometimes I wish I could live in the Church. The sense of peace I feel is so strong that I do not want to leave. I often wish that I could become a hermit and leave the cares of this world behind; I wish I could spend eternity contemplating the face of the Lord. I also feel such a strong desire to celebrate the Mass; I watch the priest at the Altar and my heart expands; I wish I could climb the mountain and converse with the Lord; I wish I could enter the Holy of Holies and be wrapped up in the love of the Blessed Trinity. I really admire priests and I often wish I could be counted among them.

However, I also want to have a wife and children. I love women and I do not know if I would be able to live a life of celibacy. I also think I would regret not having children because I am very paternal. I feel like I would be missing out on a lot if I did not have a family. I also imagine that the life of a priest would be very lonely at times. I may regret becoming a priest, but I would never regret having children. I really want a family but I also know that it is increasingly difficult to find a Catholic spouse these days.

I cannot leave the Merchant Navy to discern a vocation; I may leave the Navy and then discover that I am not called to the priesthood. I do not want to ruin my chances of having a good career to discern whether I may be called. I really don't know what to do. I have felt this call for years; I have deliberately pushed it away, but it remains as strong as ever.

What should I do?

[/quote]

You should complete your current obligations and offer all sacrifice to God and join it with Him. If you are meant to be a priest then you will become one if you are willing to obey everything required to become one. It would be best to speak with a priest as your spiritual advisor. Do not hold back anything from him. Keep in the faith and keep in prayer.


#9

Thats funny, I was told nearly the same thing when I felt called to the Priesthood, except he said, “If you marry it doesnt mean I’ll love you any less”. Only problem was, he then threw in a small additional note saying “of course, if you choose to become a Priest is sure wouldnt hurt my feelings either…”. The best comfort I have in my decision is that if I were as poor a priest as I am a husband and father (from time to time anyway) I fear I’d have let him down to a far greater degree, but who knows, I cant wait to get to ask him face to face.

As far as the OP goes, I agree with those who say 3 years of patience while fulfilling a committment previously agreed to sounds like the kind of wise choice the Lord would appreciate as well.


#10

I read about your dilemma and it seems I’m the one that wrote it. I’m at the very same fork in the road. It’s confusing because you want to do what God is calling you to be, but it’s so hard to discern. I’ve read in religious texts that those who marry do well(God won’t stop loving you nor do you stop loving God) but those who don’t do better. The reason for that being that if you have a wife and kids then you worry about worldly things, for your family is of this world, and so are the things needed to sustain them(food, clothes, money, etc.) and if you are alone then you have time to ponder over the things of God and what his will is more freely. Also, the first commandment says to Love God above all things, would we really fulfill that commandment if we just upped and married? Seeing as we can no longer give God a chance to call us? However, I have also read that if you feel like marrying, then God put that sentiment in your heart for a reason, and you should follow it. My rejoinder to that was, well, what if the reason for putting that sentiment in your heart was really so that you could prove to God that, despite having some uncertainties, your trust in him was so great and your love for him so incomparable, that you would still go ahead and be his humble servant? As I’m sure you already knew, neither path is bad, and sometimes we just have to trust completely in God and take a leap of faith. we may fall for a while before landing in the sweet trampoline of certainty to be propelled ever higher towards the heavens by God’s Love(not saying we don’t have God’s Love before hand,just that God’s Love is like fuel and our actions the spark, if the spark isn’t their then the fuel won’t light up, even though it is there, in the fiery passion that is His Love)


#11

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:1, topic:194323"]
I think I may be called to the priesthood!

This is a problem. I am currently in the Merchant Navy and I cannot leave; I am obligated to remain in the Navy for three years; if I leave before then, I will be fined £3000. I enjoy my current job, but I feel such a strong pull towards the priesthood.

The only time I feel contentment is when I am in Church. When I visit Church, I feel such a calmness and peace that it is overwhelming; I feel engulfed in love and serenity. I feel the desire to attend Mass every day; and sometimes I wish I could live in the Church. The sense of peace I feel is so strong that I do not want to leave. I often wish that I could become a hermit and leave the cares of this world behind; I wish I could spend eternity contemplating the face of the Lord. I also feel such a strong desire to celebrate the Mass; I watch the priest at the Altar and my heart expands; I wish I could climb the mountain and converse with the Lord; I wish I could enter the Holy of Holies and be wrapped up in the love of the Blessed Trinity. I really admire priests and I often wish I could be counted among them.

However, I also want to have a wife and children. I love women and I do not know if I would be able to live a life of celibacy. I also think I would regret not having children because I am very paternal. I feel like I would be missing out on a lot if I did not have a family. I also imagine that the life of a priest would be very lonely at times. I may regret becoming a priest, but I would never regret having children. I really want a family but I also know that it is increasingly difficult to find a Catholic spouse these days.

I cannot leave the Merchant Navy to discern a vocation; I may leave the Navy and then discover that I am not called to the priesthood. I do not want to ruin my chances of having a good career to discern whether I may be called. I really don't know what to do. I have felt this call for years; I have deliberately pushed it away, but it remains as strong as ever.

What should I do?

[/quote]

Hey merchant man

I don't think your situation is difficult. WHY? Because I can see that you r ril called to save God. If you had written that you don't like women and your life is such a mess, I would doubt ur vocation (whom am I to doubt) Well, Jesus said if u love me, deny urself and follow me,denying urself means risking your job, forget about marriage and children, then join priesthood, whether diocesan or religious. HE promised, he who leaves all these things for his sake, will have 100 times more on earth and more in heaven. So don't ever think that religious people are lonely, they are not. Your paternal nature is highly, needed to comfort the distress especially as spiritual director or during confession, baptism and other church sacraments.

So, my son, find a spiritual director and follow the voice within you.
I will also advice u that when you are in mass, when such moment u experience comes, ask Jesus, "Lord, what do u want me to do" he will definitely tell you what to do.

It's such a grace to see God's presence in the church, I feel it too (Others don't) so we should thank Jesus n our lady for this grace


#12

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:5, topic:194323"]
You're right; I need to pray more and I need to deepen my spiritual life. I am a miserable sinner and I need to strive to live the virtues before I even consider taking steps towards the priesthood. I hear the faint voice of God calling me but I know I am unworthy of the dignity of the priesthood; if God wants me for the priesthood, I must prepare myself by a life of prayer and mortification.

[/quote]

Correction,
He doesn't call the qualified, but qualifies the unqualified. He said come to me even if ur sins are as red as blood. HOWEVER, you have to be open to him and ask for his grace to change, just listen to his voice as u are, with your weaknesses and strengths alike:shrug:


#13

Hi, Dempsey! I am still in the preliminary stages of investigating my own call to Catholicism; however, it occurs to me that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not require its priests to be celibate. Just a thought, but you do have three years to look into it! You can, maybe, have your cake and eat it, too!


#14

Hi, Dempsey! I am still in the preliminary stages of investigating my own call to Catholicism; however, it occurs to me that the Eastern Orthodox Church does not require its priests to be celibate. Just a thought, but you do have three years to look into it! You can, maybe, have your cake and eat it, too!

The Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church; and only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth. The Orthodox have many elements of truth, but they have erred by separating themselves from the Successor of St. Peter. The Orthodox faith is beautiful, but only the Catholic faith is complete. I know the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ and was built upon the rock of St. Peter; I know the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation; consequently, there would be no salvation outside of the Catholic Church for me. I will remain faithful to God and his Vicar, the Pope.


#15

"The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." The devil enjoys trying to confuse us. Finding your vocation is not like buying a car...................oh how I wish I had chosen the SUV instead of the sedan!! On the other hand......the SUV costs more to run and I can't afford all that gas money! Decisions! Decisions!!
Life will always involve giving up one way of life for another. A vocation to the priesthood is not just a life style choice. It is a calling from God. Back in the 60's and70's there were many men who thought being a priest was a life style choice and they did not pray for their vocation. They told God they thought being a priest sounded like a cool and honorable choice................but God did not choose them. They wanted it all so they disregarded the fact theat God did not choose them for the priesthood. These are the priests who were weak and saw greener grass everywhere. You do not want to be like the priests who went astray. You want to be a priest who was willing to wait and pray every day from your heart for God to make the choice. Study the life of Saint Simeon. He was taught patience when he waited and waited for baby Jesus to appear in the temple at the Presentation. Three years is a short time to pray pray pray and ask God if you are worthy to be one of his "chosen" ones.


#16

I have to admit, this thread...can relate to me, a lot. for severl months now ive felt "called" to the priesthood. recently in weeks ive talked my self out of it...that lasted...less then a day... So many things during Lent made me feel this way, and thinking about my life in the past, as of in the BIG PICTURE...it points right to it. one of my faveorite quotes fromthe bible is "deny your self pick up your cross and follow me" (yea i know thats not word for word but means the same thing). I have to admit, as far as im coinscence of, theres only 1 thing holding me back from being sure of it. and its probably somethign that would literly make me say NO to priesthood unless if God took extrodinary steps to make sure i would be a priest (which he really does not work that way)...its the HOPE of mariage is my issue... but for the past.... 7 or almost 8 months ive just had "too many coinsidences" happen to me and i feel like He used Lent to really really get to me... anways I have a 4 or 5 page micosoft works pages typed up saved in my computer of my story if anyones intrested. I go back and re-read it, and i cant help but sometimes feel like re-encouraged...and others i just feel in disbeleif. . Ive had people read it and they go "WOW BRIAN I BELEAVE YOU". and i go back and read it and feel like...nahhh that didnet REALLy hapen..I even went as far as speaking to the Vocations director we talked for almost an hour, but i couldnt help but feel like i wasted his time because i couldnt speak my story to him when he asked me too. I was so nervous. I wish i could of.... if anyones intrested, message me and ill send it to you.


#17

I agree with everyone, take your time and study through decernment what your real calling is? But is your calling really to be a priest? Maybe you can find fullfilment by becoming a Deacon, eucharistic minister or working in another ministry dealing with people within your parish? Seems in that way you can have everything without actually being a priest. Being a priest is a very special calling, just about 24hrs a day, 7 days a week if there is a need? There are so many ministries around, both inside of the church and outside. Your calling could be working with young people as a counselor, or church youth advisor, even a baseball coach? Maybe your true calling is to be a doctor or a nurse or just about any vocation in the medical field dealing with people? But keep praying, read the bible if you have time, and prepare yourself for the calling you believe God is leading you to. God Bless!


#18

Thank you to everyone who posted; your words have really helped me!

I am still undecided, but I have discovered my place in the Church should God call me to the priesthood; I have found the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. If I have a vocation, then I will join this Society. I must continue my career in the Merchant Navy for the next three years, and I cannot wait until 2013; by that time, I will know for certain what the Lord wants me to do with my life.


#19

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:18, topic:194323"]
I am still undecided, but I have discovered my place in the Church should God call me to the priesthood; I have found the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. If I have a vocation, then I will join this Society. I must continue my career in the Merchant Navy for the next three years, and I cannot wait until 2013; by that time, I will know for certain what the Lord wants me to do with my life.

[/quote]

It sounds like you have a plan, so good for you, and stick with it. But two words of advice from someone who's been there: get yourself a spiritual director to help you through the complexities of the situation - even if you're at sea often, you can meet them at regular intervals. And don't expect to know 'for certain' - even when we fell a strong pull towards a particular vocation, certainty may elude us.

Life decisions of this kind are usually a leap of faith, and to some extent I would say necessarily so: it may be wise to expect that doubts will always be there. Read the book of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes) - a sublime meditation on the vanity of seeking certainty, and the agony of doubt, which nevertheless ends with the hope that God will be enough.

Prayers and best wishes to you.


#20

It sounds like you have a plan, so good for you, and stick with it. But two words of advice from someone who’s been there: get yourself a spiritual director to help you through the complexities of the situation - even if you’re at sea often, you can meet them at regular intervals. And don’t expect to know ‘for certain’ - even when we fell a strong pull towards a particular vocation, certainty may elude us.

What is a spiritual director and how do I get one?


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